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Types of Ducks on Missouri’s Rivers


Ducks are considered a migratory bird species. They will search great distances for a suitable habitat during fall, winter and spring seasons. If they sense extreme weather conditions or heighten danger, flocks of ducks will seem to almost disappear overnight and travel from one region to another in search of safety. There are several ducks that at some point appear in Missouri and here is a list of a few, along with a little information about each.

mallard duck in MissouriThe mallard duck can be spotted most likely in shallow marshes, flying over farms and feeding in the rivers. The Male mallard duck can be identified by his bright, green head with a white ring around his neck. The female mallard on the other hand is muted brown color that helps to camouflaging her from possible danger. She is a very vocal duck species with her repeating quacks in sequence. Both male and female mallards have a dull colored yellow bill and bright coral webbed feet. The mallard duck will feed on tubers and water roots and are able to launch into flight with one strong lift. These birds are the most common duck species in the United States and with that being said they have a healthy, robust bird population.

Northern Pintails are said to be long, slender ducks with long, narrow wings, which is where they got the nickname greyhound of the air. The northern male pintails have a chocolate brown head with a white stripe on each side of the neck extending from the white breast and belly. Their back is blackish-gray and the rump of the duck has a white patch on each side. The female northern pintails have a dark brown upper body with a gray or buff head and lower body. The bill is blue gray blotched with black, and their feet and legs are slate colored gray. The females vocalization is a hoarse and muffled quack.

Green wing teals are one of the smallest dabbling duck in America. The bill of the teals is narrow and black. The males have a cinnamon colored head with an iridescent green crescent spanning from one eye and going around the head to the other eye. The sides and back are marked with tiny black and white stripes even though they can appear to be gray. Their wings and tails are like a tan and brown color, and they have pale yellow feathers along the side of the tail. The females are entirely a tan/ brownish color except for their white chin and belly.

These are just a few ducks who at different times of the year find their way to Missouri rivers. The abundant duck population and nesting habits will mean there will be a lot of ducks flying south through Missouri. This is a really good thing for local hunters as the young ducks will not have learned to be cautious when they approach the hunter decoys. Keep your eyes pealed when traveling through and around the rivers of Missouri and you just may find a few ducks hanging around.


Will Hanke is a float trip fanatic and an Amazon bestselling author. He owns Red Canoe Media, an Internet marketing agency south of St. Louis. When he's not geeking out, he's probably on the river in, yes, a red canoe.

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